• The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore

World’s longest green-shipping corridor to be established between the Netherlands and Singapore


Photo: The Maritime Port Authority of Singapore

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and the Port of Rotterdam have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish the world’s longest green and digital corridor to enable low- and zero-carbon shipping.

Signed at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre on the sidelines of the biennial World Cities Summit by Quah Ley Hoon, the chief executive of MPA, and Allard Castelein, CEO of the Port of Rotterdam, the MOU will bring together stakeholders across the supply chain to realize the first sustainable vessels sailing on the route by 2027. The signing was witnessed by Singapore’s minister for transport and minister-in-charge of trade relations, and Rotterdam’s mayor.

Singapore and Rotterdam are among the largest bunkering ports in the world, making them vital links on the Asian-European shipping lanes. While international shipping currently uses largely marine gas oil (MGO) and low-sulfur fuel oil, sustainable alternatives such as biofuels, including biogases, are increasingly being made available. Other alternatives such as synthetic methane, hydrogen, and hydrogen-based fuels including ammonia and methanol are in various stages of R&D for future trials and deployment.

Each alternative fuel has its own challenges relating to costs, availability, safety, and restrictions in range due to lower energy density compared to fossil fuels. To tackle these challenges, the two port authorities agreed to bring together a broad coalition of shippers, fuel suppliers and other companies to collectively work on potential solutions.

Beyond alternative fuels, the MOU also aims to optimize maritime efficiency, safety, and the transparent flow of goods by creating a digital trade lane where relevant data, electronic documentation and standards are shared. This will facilitate the seamless movement of vessels and cargo and optimize just-in-time arrival of vessels from port to port.

The port authorities will work with the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation and the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero-Carbon Shipping as action partners, as well as other industry partners across the supply chain, including BP, CMA CGM, Digital Container Shipping Association, Maersk, MSC, Ocean Network Express, PSA International, and Shell initially. This will enable the green and digital corridor project to raise investment confidence, attract green financing, and kickstart joint bunkering pilots and trials for digitalization and the use of low- and zero-carbon fuels along the route. “Decarbonizing shipping is an urgent climate-action priority, which requires the collective efforts of the entire maritime sector,” said S. Iswaran, Singapore’s transport minister. “As a trusted global maritime hub, Singapore contributes actively to the International Maritime Organization’s efforts to make international shipping more sustainable, and global supply chains more resilient. This MOU with the Port of Rotterdam demonstrates how likeminded partners can work together to complement the efforts of the IMO. It will serve as a valuable platform to pilot ideas that can be scaled up for more sustainable international shipping.”

Port of Rotterdam CEO Castelein said, “Shipping is among the most important industries to decarbonize, owing to its large international reach and volume, which continues to grow. By bringing together parties across the supply chain along one of the world’s biggest trade lanes, we can enable carriers to switch to zero-carbon fuels and speed up the transition to more sustainable shipping.” MPA chief executive Hoon added, “This MOU further strengthens the strong partnership between Singapore and Rotterdam. It reaffirms Singapore’s commitment towards facilitating a multifuel-bunkering transition as part of the Maritime Singapore Decarbonisation Blueprint 2050 and accelerates our digitalization efforts to optimize maritime efficiency and improve supply-chain resilience. The pilot will complement efforts undertaken by the shipping industry, including partners such as Google Cloud, and the IMO to support decarbonization and digitalization transition for international shipping, as we work towards developing and scaling up green and digital solutions for wider adoption.” Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero-Carbon Shipping, said, “We need bold projects like this to leverage the learnings and further develop green partnerships across the value chain. Connecting globally leading partners around one of the major trade lanes will allow us to demonstrate concrete, scalable decarbonization solutions that can inform and inspire industry as well as policy makers around the world.” Lynn Loo, CEO of the GCMD, added, “International shipping will have to deploy at least 5 percent zero-emission fuels in its fuel mix by 2030 for the sector to meet a Paris-aligned net-zero target. To this end, green corridors provide a framework to harmonize standards and regulations, increase green fuels availability and strengthen their supply chains, and attract green financing for bunkering infrastructure buildout at ports involved.”

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